From choosing the right gear and snacks to acting respectfully towards nature, these tips will help you hike responsibly this summer
Getting outside and into nature is the best way to spend a summer’s day, and for lovers of the outdoors, hiking is always a great choice. Hitting the trails comes with many rewards—from mental and physical health boosts to spending time with hiking buddies (or by yourself) away from devices, to scoring some epic views (and let’s be real, snapping Instagram photos).
But while you’re out climbing mountains, chasing waterfalls, and soaking in the incredible work of Mother Nature, it’s important to do so sustainably so that this beauty can be preserved for generations to come.
Here are some tips for hiking more sustainably this summer...
1. Shop for sustainable clothing and gear
The most sustainable way to shop for your hiking clothing and gear is to limit consumption. Buy only what you need and invest in high-quality items that will last rather than fast fashion, which will end up in the landfill after a few wears. Gear swaps or second-hand stores are a great option to recycle existing items, or consider renting gear like tents or poles that you may not use a ton.
When purchasing new items, try to do so as sustainably as possible. Opt for sustainable clothing, such as vegan brands that are locally made (limiting fuel consumption) and try to avoid synthetic materials that contain microplastics and animal-derived products like leather, feathers and wool.
3. Stock up on eco-friendly food and drink
Snacks are fuel for hikes, and are very important to keep your energy levels up. It’s always good to pack a little extra food and water in case of an emergency. But while you're out exploring the beautiful environment, you must be conscious of it as well.
Avoid any single-use plastics in your meal prep. Instead, stock your snacks in reusable bags and fill your water in reusable bottles. Do your research and support brands that are environmentally friendly, looking for identifiers like certified organic, GMO-free, Fair Trade, and plant-based ingredients.
4. Practice proper trail etiquette
While on your hiking adventures, it’s important to be respectful of the environment. Abide by any signage and stay on the paths, which have been marked both for your safety and to allow the surrounding vegetation to flourish. Going off the path can destroy plant and animal habitats, and can impact the entire ecosystem. The same goes for your dogs—keep 'em on a leash!
And don’t ever litter! Abide by the pack-it-in, pack-it-out rule so you can ensure any waste is disposed of properly. Leave everything as you found it so that future hikers can experience the same natural beauty as you did.
5. Clean up sustainably
After your hiking adventure, you will return with a full heart and some tired muscles, but it’s important to clean up with the environment in mind. Minimize any invasive species by removing plant, animal and mud material from clothing, gear, pets and vehicles.
Recycle or preserve any leftovers from your snacks. Clean your gear to maintain it so that it stays of top quality for future adventures, minimizing water consumption while washing as much as possible. Consider sustainable ways to wash up such as using Tru Earth eco-friendly laundry strips.
Nothing should stop you from getting out and enjoying nature, but there are options to do so in a more sustainable way. We hope that these tips will help you enjoy your hiking adventures this summer while feeling good about your role in the environment at the same time.